Sunday, 7 April 2013

Brown Teal- Pāteke

With less than 2000 wild Brown Teal (Maori name Pāteke) in New Zealand, I was extremely lucky to spot quite a number of them on a tidal river bank which we passed over a number of times while driving near Colville.

Brown teal are nocturnal & omnivorous, feeding on the muddy tidal flats in amongst the mangroves. During the day they rest up on the edges of the tidal streams. They were very wary & as soon as they were aware of me they took off swimming up stream, they came out from under the mangroves and boxthorn by the dozens. I managed to creep up closer on a small flock on another nearby stream.

The Brown Teal is a small dabbling duck species endemic to New Zealand, they were once widespread throughout NZ but they are now classed as New Zealand’s rarest waterfowl species. Brown Teal are only found on Great Barrier Island, eastern Northland & the upper Coromandel where they have been re-introduced. New populations have now also been established on several predator free islands.
Brown teal are mainly brown in colour (surprise, surprise) with a distinctive white eye ring. Males in breeding plumage have a green head that can range from subtle to very strong iridescent green & sometimes they have a white collar on the neck.  When not in breeding plumage, both sexes look alike although they have different calls. In  this photo you can see the dark bronze chest, a hint of green on one of the heads & the white collar on the front duck. Brown teal breed during winter & spring.
Another rare bird to tick off my list!

This sign was near Port Charles, a very long way
 from where I saw my Pateke

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